Interview with Curly Hendo: Journey, Challenges, and Wisdom

by the partae

An introduction to being an independent musician, how you got started, and how you ended up where you are?

From the age of four, I was immersed in the world of competitive dance, training in ballet, hip-hop, jazz, and tap. This early exposure to the performing arts instilled in me not only confidence but also a profound understanding of what it takes to captivate an audience—skills that helped set the stage for my music career and have become invaluable in business ventures.

My entrepreneurial journey in music began at the young age of eight when I first picked up an electric bass. This early passion led me to pursue the highest international qualifications in bass guitar while still attending school, complemented by formal studies in business. At just 18 years old, I established my own entertainment company, aiming to showcase exceptional musicians and deliver top-tier performances coupled with stellar customer service. My enterprise flourished, expanding to include a roster of over 30 musicians. We have performed at numerous leading venues and events, including corporate functions and cruises across the South Pacific.

Simultaneously, I continued to advance my career as a session bassist, performing alongside acclaimed artists across Australia, Asia, and the UK. This international exposure not only helped my performance skills but also enriched my business acumen, making every stage and interaction a part of my continuous learning journey.

What has been one major challenge you have overcome, provide a real example of this?

At the age of 19, I faced one of my most significant challenges when I moved to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music on a scholarship. This marked my first time living abroad alone, a stark departure from my home in Sydney, Australia. Simultaneously, my entertainment business was expanding, requiring me to manage rigorous music studies and performances while overseeing a growing company from another continent.

This period was transformative, instilling lessons in resilience and the critical importance of stepping beyond one’s comfort zone. Berklee offered a unique opportunity to collaborate with some of the industry’s most talented individuals, enhancing my musical skills and broadening my professional network, which was instrumental in shaping my career and entrepreneurial spirit.

Living alone in a foreign country at such a young age presented challenges, from navigating daily life without the immediate support of family to balancing intense academic and business responsibilities. Managing these dual commitments demanded meticulous time management and a laser focus on my long-term goals. Throughout this journey, I learned the value of self-reliance and resilience. Staying focused on my objectives helped me navigate through these challenges, reinforcing my confidence and ability to back myself in future decisions. This experience underscored that with determination and a clear vision, one can overcome even the most daunting of circumstances, ultimately shaping me into the entrepreneur I am today.

What has been your greatest personal achievement in your journey and how did you achieve this?

Navigating my entrepreneurial journey as an independent international artist under the stage name Curly Hendo has been a comprehensive masterclass in entrepreneurship. Operating independently means I am wholly responsible for every aspect of my career—from marketing to accounting, bookings, and overall management. This dual role of artist and entrepreneur demands a relentless drive and a multifaceted skill set, closely mirroring the challenges of running my own entertainment business where similar skills are paramount.

The culmination of this hard work and entrepreneurial spirit was vividly displayed when I performed last year with the exceptional artist RAYE at the packed Wembley Stadium for the Capital Summertime Ball. This performance was one of my career highlights amongst many memorable performances with various artists at festivals, concerts, and on television. The exhilaration of live performance and the opportunity to influence others through my music are the driving forces behind my endeavours.

My greatest personal achievement is my role as an international ambassador for a leading music institution which enhances my ability to impact the music industry further. In this capacity, I mentor emerging talents, offering them guidance on navigating the complexities of the music and entertainment industry with practical, strategic advice. This blend of personal achievement and contribution to the development of others encapsulates my greatest accomplishment in my entrepreneurial journey, showcasing the synergy between self-reliance and community support in achieving success.

Can you give a word of wisdom to a fellow independent musician?

Define your goals with clarity and pursue them with unyielding passion. It’s crucial to implement straightforward strategies that focus primarily on people—be it your team, collaborators, or customers. Don’t shy away from challenging your comfort zones; embracing new experiences can lead to greater opportunities and enrich your journey. Remember, the broader your horizons, the greater the rewards.

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